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i'm not sure how this works so i'll just shoot. i KNOW u cannot give a diagnosis. i'm not asking for one. what i'm asking for is for you to assess my mom's behavior i describe here & give me possible mental/emotional disorders her behavior fits the pattern of.

so, basically my mom & the rest of my family are above average intelligence, she reads, she's NOT at all incompetent. but for many yrs now (10 or so) she has this strange behavior she exhibits when she has, say, friends from work over to meet our family. which is a very rare occasion. BUT when she does, her voice changes; her personality changes so drastically that the first time i witnessed it i had to leave the room & sob to myself because i was so overwhelmed by how perculiarly she was acting & the sense that she, for that moment in time, was not herself at all, but an entirely different person--HOWEVER this seems to be controlled--somethng she can turn on & off at will. my dad, brother, sister have been bothered by this too.

MORE RECENTLY & in relation (i think) to that is that when she interacts with people now--anyone, even her family who she should feel comfortable around, she acts i don't know how else to explain it, really ditzy. almost child-like mentality in her cognitive capacity. it's like someone will say "ok, well i'm going to the mall now" & she'll respond with "oh are you going to the mall?"--not just in a conversational sense, but as if she's really asking cuz she's confused. i know that's not a clear example but god i'll try to think of a better one cuz she does this all day long sometimes & other days she's just her normal self--unless a less familiar person comes over, then it's back to the "dumb", "baby" talk.

my friend noticed this once when we were about to microwave popcorn & my mom came in & asked "oh, you're making popcorn? do you know how to do it?" (i'm 30 yrs old, i know how to microwave popcorn) & then she proceeded to tell us the directions. my friend laughed, but i felt sad, cuz it's like she's seriously asking. either that or she's completely socially awkward & gets anxious & doesn't know what to say. all i know is i have an intuitive sense for my mother & when something just isn't right & that's the sense i get in these interactions with her is like, "can she be serious?" & she IS, so it seems. my brother has noticed it too & says things like you have to come back here, mom is acting crazy, weird. whenever i try to bring it up to her, she gets almost enraged -which is out of character for her. Any ideas as to what could be going on here? thank you.

cameron eaton

age: 30


Hello, Cameron--

Not only can I not make a diagnosis, but, since such behavior could be occasioned by such a wide variety of things, I really cannot give you even a reasonable conjecture. It could be something physical--hormone imbalance, any of various diseases, the onset of some kind of dementia, even a brain tumor. Or it could be some kind of psychological problem involving distortion of reality which would require a personal interview even to begin speculation.

I know that this must be terribly upsetting to you. The best thing that you can do both for your mamma and for your own peace of mind is to stop trying to figure this out, and instead to take action.

I would recommend that you explain these symptoms to a medical doctor and be sure that your mamma gets a full examination as soon as possible. The MD should be able to determine if the problem is physical, or, if it is not, then to suggest a interview with a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Be well.

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page last modified February 7, 2008

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